Close to 300 billion pesos in net profits (plus the juicy Fobaproa promissory notes, the voluminous and permanent tax refund, the open violation of national banking legislation, the not a few parallel businesses and the impunity guaranteed by the government in turn) they were neither sufficient nor convincing for the owners of Banamex, who have put that institution up for sale, founded in 1884, but in the hands of the US transnational Citigroup since 2001.
Until now, the owners of Banamex are already preparing its sale “to the highest bidder” through the Mexican stock market, with the intention of evading the treasury (as they did in 2001, with the satisfaction of Vicente Fox and his Secretary of the Treasury, Francisco Gil Díaz, the national stock speculators who stayed with the institution thanks to the Salinista reprivatization of banking in 1991-1992), in such a way that the authority of the Tax Administration Service (SAT) must be at ease with this type of maneuvers, which, over the years, have bled the treasury.
According to the statement released by Citigroup, the decision to sell Banamex “is part of a new global strategic vision and is not related to Mexico’s economic prospects”, in such a way that it makes available to interested parties everything related to that financial institution: “brand, bank, branches, ATMs, Afore” and others, without leaving aside the splendid voluminous cultural heritage accumulated over almost 140 years of existence.
So, the transnational is leaving, but it is not leaving, since its directors have announced that “it will operate with a new banking license in Mexico that will focus on serving large corporations and managing the investment of clients with great fortunes” ( the day, Julio Gutiérrez), that is, for Citigroup the “poor” segment of its Mexican clientele – to which it provides lousy service and charges even for breathing – does not leave enough profit, no matter how much it represents “six out of 10 pesos of their income in the country” (idem).
In times of Mexican private banking – prior to the lopezportillista expropriation of 1982 – Banamex and Bancomer constantly fought for first place in the national market, but since the foreignization (Zedillo-Fox) of the country’s financial system, the Spanish transnational BBVA ousted the former National Bank of Mexico to take it to a distant fourth position in the market. All in all, the institution that they are now putting up for sale is one of those with the highest net profits.
Since its sale to Citigroup, Banamex has accumulated close to 300 billion pesos in net profits. Of this total, around 62 billion correspond to the three years of the government of President López Obrador. The rest, in the governments of Fox, Calderón and Peña Nieto. By the way, Citigroup, with a very dirty history, was the first foreign bank to establish itself in Mexico. That was in 1929. Seventy-two years later, he bought Banamex from the crowd of speculators who received it from Carlos Salinas, in an operation that – tax free – Fox described as “the sale of the century”. And in the following two decades, the US transnational dedicated itself to squeezing its “poor” clientele that now causes it so much disgust.
To obtain a new banking license –once Banamex has abandoned, after a multimillion-dollar income from its sale–, Citigroup will have to go through the national legal instances, although it is well known that it has the number ahead of time. The Ministry of Finance says that the US transnational “timely notified the Mexican authorities of its departure”, which “for reasons of confidentiality and not to cause speculation in the market prior to the announcement, did not make it public. The group’s president, Jane Fraser, came to our country to explain this decision.”
In any case, the shooters for Banamex will be the usual ones, with which the already concentrated banking system will take another step forward.
the slices of the cake
Citigroup says that the sale of Banamex “does not imply risks” for its clientele, but, given the terrifying experience of the users of the banking system that operates in the country, it would not hurt that the account holders of that institution take their precautions and the faster , better. Remember that the donkey was not surly…